Not every social media site is right for every business. Your customers and potential customers may not all be using Twitter or Facebook. With a limited amount of time to spend on social media, how do you know where to spend your time?

3 Steps to Get Started

1. The first thing you need to know going in is that social media marketing takes time. While you'd like to just dip your toe in the water, you really need to jump in waist-deep to have a chance of seeing a return on your investment in social media.

2. The next thing you need to do is to identify your social media goals . A lot of tools or consultants will focus on growing or measuring your social media reach, which is important (see below) but not your primary goal. At the end of the day, you care about more business, right? Then you want to tie your social media efforts with actual sales. Make sure you have closed loop website analytics in place to help you track the traffic, leads, and of course, sales that come from social media so that you can evaluate the results.

3. Get started now! That means setting up social media accounts , producing some interesting content and calls-to-action , tapping into conversations in your industry , and engaging .

How to Determine Which Social Media Site is Right for You

Each business will have different results with social media sites. You want to try out a site for yourself before drawing any conclusions about whether or not to keep it as part of your ongoing marketing strategy. Here are the 4 metrics you need to determine where to spend your social media efforts.

Traffic from Social Media Sites

Social Media Visits

Your website analytics - be they HubSpot's marketing analytics or another tool - should tell you how much traffic you get from social media sites and which sites are driving the most eyeballs to your website. This is a measure of overall awareness that you're gaining by participating in social media. In this example, Twitter and Facebook are by far the highest traffic generators.

Leads & Visitor-to-Lead Conversion %

Social Media Leads

You don't just care about eyeballs - you care about if those visitors turn into leads. Be sure to measure the top lead generating sites. In this example, Facebook is by far the highest lead generator. You also want to monitor the conversion rate from visitor to lead. While Twitter and LinkedIn draw a similar number of leads, LinkedIn traffic converts at almost double the rate.

Customers & Lead-to-Customer Conversion %

Social Media Customers

Even more important than leads are actual customers. In this example, LinkedIn comes through with the highest lead-to-customer conversion rate and the highest number of overall customers. So, while LinkedIn lagged in overall traffic and leads, it had the highest overall yield and impact on the business.


Social Media Reach

Your core goals will always be to drive more leads and customers through your website, but don't forget about the value of social media in expanding the reach of your content to new audiences. By sharing your content with your Twitter followers or Facebook fans, you may enlist your network to further share your content to their own network. So in addition to the previous metrics, you want to measure the growth of your reach on each channel. Which provides you with the greatest and most engaged audience? In order to measure this, you need to track the number of followers on each site as well as engagement metrics, which some social media sites provide, like Facebook with their Facebook Insights .

Drawing Conclusions

In this example, we've given social media a solid effort for a full year. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter have each delivered a significant number of customers. Overall, LinkedIn provided the greatest yield from visitor to customer. Facebook is also a top lead generator but closed into a customer at a lower rate, so I'll want to look into the quality of those leads and why they're not becoming customers. Finally, sites like StumbleUpon were a bit of a flop - delivering lots of visitors but only 4 leads over the whole year and 0 customers. Twitter provides the greatest reach of all the sites and a lot of traffic and awareness.

Now go and find out which social media sites are most effective for your business!

Originally published Nov 23, 2010 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017


Social Media Analytics